Graduate Programs Brochure

brochure cover: Elliott School Graduate Programs

If you are looking for a vibrant academic community — one with a global perspective and a commitment to the public good — then look no further than Washington, DC, and GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

SPS Research Institute

Institute for Security and Conflict Studies

Security Policy Studies M.A. Program

photo: Joanna Spear
Joanna Spear, Program Director

Security Policy Studies (SPS) is a policy-oriented master's degree program focusing on international security issues, with a particular emphasis on the security challenges for the 21st century and how to respond to them. These challenges include but are not limited to: weapons of mass destruction proliferation, transnational threats, terrorism, changing regional power dynamics, weak and failing states, international crime, effectively linking security and development, and ensuring U.S. national security.

The curriculum provides strong grounding in the national security and defense policy-making process. Students choose two specific concentrations — which can range from transnational security issues to conflict resolution to defense analysis. Students also have the option of emphasizing a particular region, such as East Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, by selecting a regional field as one of their two concentrations.

The program's faculty includes internationally recognized authorities in international security, defense policy, foreign policy, the national security policy process, and regional and transnational security issues. Through its academic and professional skills development courses this program can open doors to future employment in the security policy institutions of the federal government, in the private sector, in international organizations such as NATO, and in the many think tanks and non-profit institutions engaged in security policy work.

In the News

Capture of key complex at Ramadi could mark a strategic victory over Islamic State, but will it hold?

December 28, 2015

Stephen Biddle commented on a strategic victory for the Iraqi military and coalition forces who reclaimed the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State in the Los Angeles Times.

Special Report: The African Union’s Coercive Diplomacy in Burundi

December 18, 2015

Paul Williams authors an article for IPI Global Observatory that gives insight into the African Union's authorization for 5,000 peacekeeping forces to be deployed in Burundi.

Putin: Russia could use nukes against ISIS

December 10, 2015

Edward "Skip" Gnehm provides analysis of Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat of nuclear force against ISIS on the FOX News program "Shephard Smith Reporting."

The U.S. Dilemma in Syria

December 09, 2015

Stephen Biddle unpacks problems with the current U.S. military strategy against ISIS and describes the dilemma U.S. policymakers are facing with the conflict in Syria during a lecture at the Elliott School.

Expert weighs in on Mali terror attack

November 20, 2015

Ambassador Reuben Brigety discusses an attack by jihadist militants on a prominent hotel in Mali on MSNBC.